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Bank lends €80m for 17 MW solar power project

A concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Spain’s province of Seville will be a commercial demonstration of a central tower receiver and heliostat field.

The European Investment Bank says the €80 million loan to GEMASOLAR 2006 SAU will finance construction and commissioning of the CSP plant in Fuentes de Andalucía.

With nameplate capacity of 17 MW, the CSP facility will be the only existing commercial-scale solar power demonstration project based on a central tower receiver and heliostat field, and feature a molten salt heat storage system that will allow independent power generation for 15 hours with no solar input.

The CSP project will increase energy efficiency by enabling electricity production for 6600 hours a year, or up to three times as much as other renewable energies, claim the developers.

“This important technological development chimes perfectly with EU energy policy,” says EIB vice president Carlos da Silva Costa. “New energy technologies are essential to meeting the EU’s climate change mitigation, energy security and corporate competitiveness targets.”

“We are highly satisfied with the EIB’s support for the launch of Gemasolar, which is a truly innovative solar power plant and the world’s first commercial-scale project built with this technology,” says Torresol Energy chair Enrique Sendagorta.”We are confident that central tower technology using molten salt offers the greatest development potential for the future.”

The finance contract was signed in Madrid.

Gemasolar is the flagship project of Torresol Energy Investment SA, which is owned 60% by the Spanish engineering group SENER and 40% by Masdar, the renewable energies development company of the government of Abu Dhabi.

The CSP facility could supply green power to 25,000 homes, reduce CO2 emissions by 30,000 tonnes a year and create 1,000 direct jobs during construction.

The EIB is the European Union’s long-term financing institution. As part of the EU’s strategy of fostering sustainable energy, it gives priority to financing investment in renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy RDI, the diversification and security of the internal energy supply and external energy security.

Torresol Energy is a joint venture between SENER and MASDAR, and was created to be involved in CSP by promoting large-scale CSP plants in the sun belt of southern Europe (including Spain), North Africa, the Middle East and the southwest United States. It is working on the GEMASOLAR project and construction of two 50 MW parabolic trough CSP plants in the province of Cadiz (VALLE 1 and VALLE 2).

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